Feeling like a boss, and
Staring at the stars, it
Doesn’t matter the cost, ’cause
Everybody wants to be famous
…According to the adults working in statistics anyway. But what do they really mean by this? What is it that they are really getting at?
Here’s what I think: their comments aren’t ungrounded, although I think they have assumed the link of causation, a little at least. Okay, now I’m the one being convoluted – what an earth do I mean?
Well, there has been a surge in children (aged 6-17) wanting to become famous. Or, at the very least, a surge in children wanting to become YouTubers, Bloggers and Vloggers. And when I say ‘there has been a surge’ I’m not exaggerating, a massive 53% of children gave one of these three answers. Add in the number of children that want to be musicians, singers and actors and the number increases to over 88%.
But does this actually signal a rise in fame-hungry youngsters or is it simply indicative of a change in the times? Are the views of this lovely gentleman from Welwyn Garden City (urgh, I’m actually annoyed that we live so close) really as ridiculous as they sound – ‘A huge number of youngsters are just a bunch of sad, over indulged, pathetic specimens with no back bone.’ – I’d be inclined to say yes, they most certainly are.
Equally wrong is this lady, who tries (and fails) to be nice about the youth of today. ‘Let’s give young people some credit. There’s always going to be the ones who are clueless about the real world but there are plenty of smart, hard working ones out there too.’ Please Susan, no young people are clueless about the real world, they’re living it. Being hard working
Being a ‘YouTuber’ wouldn’t have been an option for 6 year-old me because it only became a thing in 2005. Wow, that’s one way to make a girl feel old! My point though is this, just because somebody dreams of being a blogger, it doesn’t mean they want to be famous. They might just be incredibly passionate about something and feel that blogging is the most effective way in which they can share this interest with the world.
So, what now then?
Well, as usual, in true teacher style, I truly believe that education is the answer. Why? Because even though many children dreaming of careers in social media will simply be doing so because they’re passionate about sharing their interests, there will be many doing it for the fame, won’t there? And, anyway, the lines become blurred very quickly. When does sharing your passion become making it a business? And when does making it a business equate to trying to become ‘famous’ across your chosen social media platform?
Sorry to disappoint but I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I do though feel that if you are one of those children, or adults (because we dream too), thinking about a career in social media, then you need to consider those questions. You also need to remember the following:
- Being an influencer is not the same thing as making a living through Instagram
The dictionary definition of ‘influence’ (oh come on, you knew it was going to happen) is: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself. We all have that capacity. And, what’s more, you therefore only need one follower to be an ‘influencer’. I would even go as far as to say that some of the most influential people on social media don’t have a massive following. But, their influence – the genuine effect and impact that they have on their followers – is incredible.
Making a living through Instagram (or any form of social media) is a whole different ball game. There’s a big taboo surrounding what people should charge and when, whether being ‘gifted’ something counts as payment (it doesn’t) etc etc etc. But my point is this: making a living out of social media is hard. You need to be business savvy and prepared to put the hours in – it’s like anything really but for some reason people think it isn’t. It is.
- Building a personal brand is hard work.
This is really a continuation of the previous point I guess but still worth mentioning in it’s own right. There are many incredible women (and men) on social media who talk far more eloquently than I ever could about the importance of finding your niche. So, rather than try, I will refer you to them as they are definitely worth checking out.
From my personal perspective, this Emily Dickinson poem not only captures the indignity of exclusion (a topic for another time) but also forces you to answer or at least consider ‘who are you?’. If you’re looking to build a career through social media, you won’t be able to escape this question so it’s probably best to start asking it now.
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
There’s a pair of us – don’t tell.
They’d banish us, you know.
- Education, education, education
I’m just going to say it, you might need a back up plan.
…I’ll leave that to sink in for a while.
No, but seriously, footballers/singers/actors/BLOGGERS, pretty much any career that has a potential ‘shelf-life’ requires you to have a back up plan. This, like my previous point, links to the one before. If you find your niche, completely and utterly, then you will be building a business and that carefully thought out business is much more likely to have longevity than simply ‘being a blogger’ or ‘having an Instagram’. Simplified I know, but also true.
So, whenever you get the chance to learn, take it. Ensure that you surround yourself with people you can learn from and be humble enough to keep learning from those around you. Invest in your education instead of your wardrobe.